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Content marketing is the new form of marketing.
Well, it’s not so much new, but it’s the new norm. It’s what today’s consumers expect from brands, like yours. Here is why your business needs content marketing.
As consumers are getting incredibly tech-savvy, connected and informed, majority turn to Google and other search engines to research before they buy. In fact, 89% of buyers start their buying journey online.
Think about your own experience with buying a service or product at one point in your life where you had to google it first. You did that to compare prices, get more information, or better understand the process involved.
CONTENT MARKETING IN THE EYES OF CUSTOMERS
For example, have you ever switched from a Samsung mobile phone to an iPhone, or had to purchase a DSLR camera (the one that some people still use that’s not built in into their phone)? Ever had to replace windows in your house, or build your own website? Decided to enroll your child into Montessori school?
Since no one is an expert in all of these areas, you did some type of research first. While some people go directly to the source of information (i.e. vendor, service provider, product reseller), most educate themselves first.
Chances are they’ll consult Google.
Your Google search would look something like this:
- Build a website
- About Montessori system
- When to replace windows?
- Compare Samsung and iPhone
- What DSLR camera to buy?
This is the start of the buying journey. It often starts days, weeks or months before the actual purchase. In this buying journey, people tend to read or scan a few pieces of content marketing (blogs, articles, product review, etc) before committing to a purchase. In fact, 47% of buyers read 3-5 content pieces before reaching out to a sales rep.
This information is the result of content marketing. It’s meant to educate, inform and help satisfy your research need, or address your question. And as a result, it’s designed to help you make a decision.
CONTENT MARKETING VS. ADS
Now let’s compare content marketing to the traditional form of marketing and advertising: ads. In this scenario, you would’ve come across an ad for an iPhone or a Sony DSLR camera. You might have seen an ad for it in your Facebook feed, or come across a spread in a magazine.
The difference is: you weren’t actively looking for one when you’ve seen this ad. And if you weren’t on the market for one, chances are you might not have clicked on the ad or even pay attention to it.
In today’s digital marketplace, 615 million devices now use ad blocking technology on their mobile devices. Why? Because ads are considered to be intrusive when compared to content marketing.
Your prospective customers can smell a sales pitch a mile away. Even if you think your ads are interesting to your audience, they won’t have the same impact as content marketing.
And that’s the difference and beauty of content marketing. It delivers information to your “door step” (a.k.a. your computer or phone screen) at the exact time that you are looking for this exact information. In a way, content marketing is a soft sell, that doesn’t involve any pressure to buy, or make you feel as if you are being sold to. It’s there to educate you on a particular product or service.
HIGH-PERFORMING MARKETING ASSETS
With many different types of content marketing available, I’ll highlight three of the most popular and high-performing ones that brands love leveraging as part of their content marketing strategy.
This is one wins the race in my books. Blogs are consistently one of the best tools that companies of all sizes, industries and markets use on a regular basis. Blogs, according to research, have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information. But the reason why blogs are so popular is because of the incredible value they deliver to the intended audience.
Blogs – in case you aren’t quite sure what blogs have to do with promoting your product or service – are an essential component of a sound content marketing strategy. Typically, blogs are articles packed with relevant information on a specific topic. They inform and educate your clients on the ins and outs of a topic related to your business or industry.
Going back to our Google search in the customer buying journey, here are some of the results that you would have gotten from your Google search:
- Everything you need to know about Montessori educational system
- Ten best DSLR cameras that are beginner-friendly
- Building a DIY website vs hiring a website developer
- Three signs you need to replace your windows in your home
- Things you wish you knew before switching from Samsung to iPhone
As you can see, these blogs would be a great source of information for a prospective customer searching for a new camera or windows replacement.
And if you were in the business of providing these products and services, then the blogs of this nature should be part of your content marketing strategy. Because when people search for a particular topic, they not only find the answer to their question. They also find the subject matter and industry expert with credible information – you.
Social media posts
This one is my second favorite type of content marketing. Given that today’s consumer is incredibly connected and present on many social media platforms, the attention for social content marketing is growing.
90% of brands recognize the power of social media and use social platforms to increase brand awareness and draw attention to their products and services. That’s because digital consumers spend nearly 2.5 hours on social networks and social messaging every day. That creates a huge opportunity for a business owner to get their brand out there in front of their target audience. In fact, 40% of consumers actually use social networks to research new brands or products.
The reason behind such popularity of social media content marketing is its engaging and interactive nature. Social posts invite and encourage participation from your target audience.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have incredible wide reach. This helps businesses grow, establish credibility and make new connections with prospective clients. It allows brands to share knowledge and expertise, expand company’s brand and build long lasting relationships.
Checklists and How-tos
Now, who doesn’t like checklists and How-tos? If you’ve ever had to learn something from scratch or familiarize yourself with a new skill, that’s what you’d google. And chances are, your Google search would return some type of list or how-to information – the result of content marketing.
And not surprisingly, 36% of people prefer list-based headlines (a.k.a. 5 steps to a beautiful website or 3 types of skills to master in your business).. And the “How-To” headline (a.k.a. how to write a blog or how to determine ROI of your marketing) is a close cousin to the checklist. It happens to be the third most popular headline, commanding attention of 17% of people.
Checklists and how-tos are designed to provide your audience with a clear, actionable and directional step-by-step process outline to achieve some type of result.
They are great content marketing assets for business of any size. Very easy to create, they provide incredible value to your prospective clients and current customers.
THE FUTURE OF MARKETING
And what this shows is that a lot of content that companies put out for their audience is not valuable, meaningful and impactful.
This, if nothing else, only solidifies that today’s consumers not only want information that would enrich their lives, help address their pain points and help solve their problem. But they expect it from brands. Your brand.
Content marketing is the present and future of marketing. It’s the new norm. It gains loyal customers, builds trust, grants credibility, and, as a result, helps you grow your business. If you believe this is the direction that you want to take your business in, reach out. I would love to help you gain your market share with meaningful and authentic content marketing. And if you’d like to get to know me first, here is a quick introduction.
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Hi, I'm Masha
The words expert, coffee connoisseur, and the face behind Content Vertical.